The story behind the porcupine.org domain name
People sometimes ask me why I (Wietse Venema) chose the name
porcupine.org for my network site. The answer that I give depends
on circumstances. Normally I give only the official story.
If conditions are appropriate (like a friendly audience in a pub)
I also give the unofficial story.
The official story
When I came to the USA late 1996 as a visiting scientist, I wanted
to run my own internet site where I could receive my own email,
just like I had done in the Netherlands for the past 10 years. I
chose the name porcupine.org because it reminded me of Europe. At
the time, every little country in Europe had its own little
regulations. Needless to say, making progress in anything was
painful, and the process reminded me of porcupines making love
(Auch! Sorry! Careful!). And thus I chose the domain name porcupine.org
for my site in the USA.
The true story
Years later I found out that I may have made an embarassing mistake.
Reportedly, mating porcupines are not quite as gentle as many
believe. Here is a
story on how porcupines make love (and here is a copy in case the original is unavailable).
By the time I found out about this, it was already too late to
revisit my porcupine.org domain name choice. The USA had become
my home country, firstname.lastname@example.org had become the email address
by which everyone knew me, and giving up the porcupine.org domain
name was no longer a practical option.